About Us

Nicole Vander Linden, Studio Owner/Director

Dance has been a part of Nicole’s life from a young age. Nicole’s dance career started at the age of three and she soon grew into a competitive dancer.

Throughout high school Nicole was a teacher assistant at her studio as well as a member of the Dance Team and Cheerleading squad. While attending Grand View University, majoring in Elementary Education, Nicole was a member of the college Dance Team.

After college Nicole coached the Knoxville High School Dance Team for four years. She is married to Tyler Vander Linden and they have two children; Abi and Wyatt. After moving back to Knoxville, Nicole taught at a local studio for two years.  This is now Nicole's 4th year as owner of Elite Dance.  Nicole loves helping her dancers pursue their passion and love of dance. 

Sara Roberts, Office Manager

Sara is an Online Business Manager.  She assists small businesses and entrepreneurs with their daily operations and startup efforts.  She has a Business Administration Degree from AIB College of Business and has worked in this field for 22 years, both in office and virtually.  Sara assists Nicole on the business side of the studio operations, including billing, social media, communication, planning, and much more. 

Sara and her husband Ryan Roberts live in Knoxville with their  3 children; RJ, Reese, and Regan.  Their daughter Reese is a Competitive Dancer with Elite Dance. 

Bridget Mohler, Head Tumbling Instructor

Bridget began her tumbling career with Rita Christy at "Rita’s Gym" in Knoxville, IA. She competed in several United States Tumbling Association competitions throughout Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, including winning the USTA nationals at the age of 6 years old.

Being part of an Air Force family, Bridget moved to Ramstein AFB, Germany with her parents. There she was invited to join a German gymnastics team--"Turnverein 04 Erlenbach". Under instruction from her German coaches, Herr and Frau Barth, she began competing throughout Germany. In her years at Erlenbach, Bridget was awarded the Meisterschaft or "master champion" designation for her age & skill level.  From there, Bridget and her parents moved to Illinois where she continued competitive gymnastics at "World Class Gymnastics in Belleville. During this time she would also compete in tumbling during the summers and weekends for Rita's Gym back in Iowa.   Bridget and her family returned to Iowa for her senior year where Bridget once again joined Rita's Gym. 

Throughout college, Bridget stayed active in tumbling. After graduating in 2004 from Northwest Missouri State University, Bridget, her former coach, Rita, and a close friend, Dawn Gass-Bennett, started "Flip Squad Tumbling & Trampoline" in Knoxville. After many fulfilling years of coaching, Bridget decided to step away from "Flip Squad" and spend more time with her husband, Eric, and young son, Ahren. Tumbling was never far from Bridget's mind. Nicole, with Elite Dance asked Bridget to join her dance family, she did not hesitate to say yes and has loved it ever since.


Whitnie Grimes - Instructor

Hello, my name is Whitnie Grimes and I am 22 years old. I am a current graduate from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelors in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education. I graduated from Becky Nalevanko's Dance and Tumbling Studio in 2014 where I had trained since age 3 in all styles of dance. 

I was also a member of the Southeast Polk RhythAMetteS Elite squad 7-12th grade. Then moved on to the UNI Dance Team form 2014-2016 where I then decided to join Gamma Phi Beta Sorority in 2016 and focus on school. I am a member of MA Dance Staff and am going into my 4th year with this amazing company.


I am currently student teaching in Marshalltown, Iowa in 5th grade and 2nd grade special education. I am beyond excited to announce I will be getting next June as well. This is about to be the best year yet as I am ready to help the kids grow in their dance life and help them become more confident daily. Here is too the 2018-2019 Dance Season!! 


Jenci Ruff - Instructor

Jenci didn't discover her passion for dance until the age of 10 and this is due to going with her friends to support them at competitions and recitals. At the age of 12 she took her first dance class and never looked back! In high school she was on the Knoxville Dance Team for all 4 years. Mrs. Nicole was her coach for one of those ;))


After graduation she continued her passion at Graceland University where she danced competitively for the Graceland Gadets Dance Team. While attending GU she received her bachelors in Health & Movement Science with a Health Minor. Knowing she wouldn't become a professional dancer and wasn't ready to part with her passion she decided to add to her degree and worked towards a Coaching Concentration.  


"Coaching helps me continually re-ignite my own curiosity and passion for the art of dance by seeing sparks of discovery in my students. I am able to be a part of a learning lineage, providing a nurturing and rigorous educational dance environment similar to the one that allows me to thrive, while passing on tools from my mentors, past experiences, and accomplishments as a competitive dancer. Additionally, coaching helps connect me to the future, and with the brilliance that will manifest in my athletes, even long after our time together is finished." I am proud to be apart of the Elite Family!!  


Katelyn Sanders - Instructor

Kate is a Pleasantville native and a Kinesiology and Health graduate of Iowa State University. She began dancing at Dance Express in Knoxville at the age of 5, and then danced for Pleasantville high school’s dance team. Throughout college, Kate danced semi-professionally for the Iowa Energy as well as the Iowa Barnstormers. Kate is still active in the dance community, assisting with ISDTA State Dance Team Solo competition and choreographing for local high schools. In her free time, Kate enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, and working out.